New to reloading- help me spend some money!

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Weston, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. Weston

    Weston Well-Known Member

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    So, I have never reloaded by my self before and have only helped friends. However, its time I jump into it, I'm ready to get into it full bore.

    My only issue is that I have very little knowledge as far as what equipment I need and I am asking for help as far as EVERYTHING I need to get into it.

    I will be loading fairly small quanities for hunting and shooting so I think a single stage will fit my needs best. I will be loading primarily for a .338 LM (300 grain bergers is what my gun seems to enjoy so far). .300 WM .223 (small quanities for predator hunting) .22-250 .204 ruger and .308 with the primary concerns being .338 LM and .300WM

    I already have a set of forster dies for my lapua as well as the lapua brass retumbo powder and bullets.

    The thing that is overwhelming is how many options of things like presses, scales, and dispensers there are. I need some advice as which I should try. I was thinking maybe the forster co-ax press or the RCBS rockchucker, however I dont know if either of these is suited well for .338 LM cartridges being so long.

    Also, I dont have any idea what other componets I need, I know I'll need a case trimmer and de-burring tool, not sure if I need a case tumbler or not.....etc.....

    I would greatly appreciate any help and thank everyone in advance for their feedback:)
     
  2. kc0pph

    kc0pph Well-Known Member

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    I would normally recomend buying the RockChucker Supreme kit. The reason i am not sure is the LM. It might fit in but you also might have to seat the bullet up in the die at an angle then slide it into the case. Another concern is FL sizing the brass. It will take some force and you may have to use some elbow greese to get the sizer to work.

    As far as a tumbler i would recomend a VIBRATORY tumbler. I have found that the rotary ones damage brass and make too much noise. Use Green Corncob media as there is no cleaning required after (the red walnuts are a pain to clean). Before i tumble my brass i wash it with water, then in a solution of Vinegar, Liquid Laundry Soap and Salt. Be careful as this does a reaction like a baking soda and vinegar. Also make sure the cases are FULLY submerged. If not they will form a orange suface that will not come out. I mix a handful of salt, about 1/2 cup detergent and 1/2 cup vinegar to say 3-4 cups of water. This INSTANTLY makes the brass shiny. From there they are shaken in a collender and put in the media damp. I notice it works better with a little bit of water.

    The kit will come with a case trimmer that works (never used one have the lyman equivilant). It looks just like mine, and is a pain to adjust and i reccomend putting some serious torque on the 2 set screws. Dont forget to buy pilots for your calibers. (Also shell holders for your dies).

    Now i have not seen any difference (others will say different) from Lee and RCBS standard dies. Its what i use and they are great.

    I use a RCBS uniflow powder throw and a 10-10 scale.

    I will not reccomend a digital scale unless you are willing to pay for it. So far the only one i have seen that has the potential is $800.

    Case Lube: I use RCBS water based lube and the RCBS lube pad. Works great. (I clean in water, then size/decap then clean as above).

    If you want to get into more advanced reloading get a case neck turner, primer pocket uniformer.

    You mentioned a deburring tool. The kit comes with one. If you dont get the kit, i got a set from Harbor Freight of deburring tools and use the biggest one. A lot cheaper than the tool. I use emery cloth on the outside, works better than anything else ive found.

    I would also recomend the Lee Auto Prime. They seat primers very well and have never had a problem (other than the occasional upside down primer). You will need to get a lee shell holder for each caliber.

    A neck turning brush works great to lube the inside of the necks, but i have found a q-tip works better, and better yet is a bore mop (i think they are called).

    If the RCBS does not work i hear great reviews about the Co-ax presses, but do not own one, still have my trusty RockChucker that was bought in 1983.

    (appology for the rambling and unorginized rant/spelling issues.)
     

  3. Weston

    Weston Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info! Is that kind of the general consensus as far as scales/dispensers go to stick with the balance? I was thinking about maybe a RCBS chargemaster 1500 and setting it a grain low to trickle the last bit in. I would like to put my budget at somewhere around 600$ for the complete set up minus dies, bullets, brass, and powder.
     
  4. CogburnR

    CogburnR Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if it matters but the RCBS isn't what it was. Outsourced now to China.

    The Lee Breech Lock Classic Cast press is pretty nice for the money or any money. You can set all your dies and switch them quickly without resetting them. It is better than the RCBS press especially now.

    Lee Precision Factory Sales - Reloading PressesLee Breech Lock Classic Cast Press

    It and a challenger kit wont's set you back 200$ and you can buy a nice scale and powder dispenser. The Lee dispenser works well with stick powder, Dillon's work well with ball powder. Redding's are good. You will want an auto prime from Lee and it comes in the kit along with some other stuff that you will use.

    Lee Precision Factory Sales - Reloading Press Kits

    Use that for a while you can decide what you like and buy it.
     
  5. kc0pph

    kc0pph Well-Known Member

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    Never knew RCBS outsourced to china.

    In my oppinion a basic compound press is the same as the rest. They are all built very sturdy. When you get into the high end presses there is a difference. And progressives are a whole nother story.
     
  6. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    in a single stage press there are two basic concepts. The basic O frame type, and the Forster. The Forster is over built, and doubt any of us here would ever wear one out. The Forster is a true strait line press with little if any pressure pushing it to one side. They are straiter in move ment and are the single most powerfull press made unless you goto a hydraulic rammed press. Plus they are made in the USA
    gary
     
  7. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    I currently own three digital measurers, and zero beam scales. The one I use the most is about twelves years old, and has never given me the sightest problem. The other two are from the same company, but are much newer in age. One is rarely used as it's the same as the one I used a couple hours ago. The other is battery powered and use it at the range when needed. None of them cost more than $125, and are made in Texas by PACT. Last time I heard Lyman, Hornaday, and RCBS have now sourced virtually all their equipment to China, which tells me they are only after the buck. Lee, Redding, and Forster still do their stuff over here, and are still competetively priced.
    gary
     
  8. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    Weston, pick up a copy of 'Handloading for Competition'
    This goes into every tool needed with pros-cons discussion and reasoning(rather than folklore).
    Zediker Publishing
     
  9. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    I still think to this very day that Fred Sinclair's book on precision reloading is the absolute best. I don't know if it's still in print, but lets hope so.
    glt
     
  10. RockZ

    RockZ Well-Known Member

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    Forster Co-Ax press without a doubt.
    I have a Rockchucker, if you want it I'll gladly sell it so I can buy one.
    I've been using my buddies co-ax and it is awesome.
     
  11. britz

    britz Well-Known Member

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    You will get lots of differing opinions. Mine would be to start inexpensive and basic. Since your loading the Lapua, i would get a good press... single stage is the only option. IMO from 1st choice to last: Forster, Redding, RCBS, Hornady, or the best Lee makes. only get an 0 frame press.

    but prior to purchaseing any equipment, get a good relaoding manual and read, learn, and relearn the basics of reloading.

    as for the scale, a cheap lee ballance beam scale (about $25.00) will work and weigh to the 1/10 of a grain. others are better. I wouldn't spend the money on the 1500 powder dispencer unless you intend to reload lots.

    I personally wouldn't spend much on a powder dispenser since you should be weighing each load (except perhaps if your loading bulk preditor loads).... anyway, as someone said earlier, get a book and read up on the experts before you drop big money.

    good luck!
     
  12. Weston

    Weston Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info so far, I think I will go look at the bookstore and see what theyve got as far as loading manuals this evening. I think I will end up with the Co-AX press, what is the general concensus on manual powder despensers?
     
  13. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    There is no 'general concensus' about anything in reloading.
    When you ask 'what should I get' in this or that, you're only inviting every responder to advise whatever they use.. So most of this energy and eventual conflict goes wasted -no matter what you end up doing!
    You shouldn't be asking FOR fish, but HOW to fish.

    Read a good book or two, and come up with a plan.
    Order catalogs or research tools online from Sinclair, MidSouth, Brunos, MidwayUSA, Precision Reloading, RwHart, etc.
    Search any shooting subject on Earth here & at many other forums.
     
  14. kc0pph

    kc0pph Well-Known Member

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    Best advice i can give you, is dont go for the Lee kitchen top presses or the one where you use a hammer with the dies. (Heard about some lee loading dies that do not use a press, a sturdy block of wood and a hammer is all you need).

    Step 1 of any person getting involved with Reloading.
    Buy Sierra Manual
    Buy Lyman Manual
    Buy Hornaday Manual
    Buy Speer Manual
    Buy Nosler Manual

    Step 2:
    Read the first few and last few chapters of all of the books. Ignore the reloading data for now.

    Step 3: Open all books up to caliber you want at the same time and compare bullets and powders and primers and cases.....

    You should know exactly what you are going to load (each cartdrige) before you buy your press. You should also know the whole reloading story in detail before you buy any equiptment. These books are great, but each one gives a little different story.